Top 20 Issues in 2010

For my Top 20 Issues, I did not include any issues from my Top 5 #1 Issues or my Top 5 Miniseries selections. Instead, I chose stories I loved and reviewed in 2010. It was hard, especially as I know there were stories that I loved that didn’t make it here because the art didn’t live up to the writing or vice versa. It was hard to choose because it’s one thing to make a beautiful arc and another to make a kick-ass issue and have it fit into a beautiful arc. All these tales were ones that I could tell you immediately what they were about and why I loved them.

Here are my Top 20 Issues in 2010.

Spider-Woman #520. Spider-Woman #5 by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev

I love the art in this. The scene where Jessica dives off the rooftop to land in a little puddle of water, the water coming off her body is brilliantly beautiful. I love the technique. Simply gorgeous. Oh, how I wish comic art was this pretty all the time.

Of course, Jessica tells herself that she was only going back for her stuff. It’s a good excuse that helps her feel hard inside. So she doesn’t have to feel partially responsible for those policemen’s deaths. Oh, the stories that Jessica tells herself.

Okay, now the Thunderbolts are after her. But why? Why do they care? Jessica’s just a rogue superhero in a place not under the rule of H.A.M.M.E.R. Not to mention it’s also full of corruption.

Read all my reviews for Spider-Woman and buy Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D..

Zatanna #319. Zatanna #3 by Paul Dini and Stephane Roux

This comic is becoming rather awesome. Zatanna knows what she’s doing and knows how to use her skills. I always love character who use their brains as well as their powers. Likewise, I enjoy her team-up with Dale, because while Zatanna is the one to take down Brother Night, Dale isn’t running and hiding from him and isn’t going to be manipulated into backing off.

For an action-filled comic, the scenes were nicely paced. Roux’s does a great job with the art. I particularly love his page-layouts. The diamond-shapes bring a nice little reminder about Zatanna’s magical powers.

Zatanna has a lot of heart, and it’s really apparent when she saves her crew first. And that she takes the time to turn Mickey into her twin so Mickey can pull off the show Zatanna’s going to miss due to her fight with Brother Night.

I love Zatanna saving her father. I love her tears, while she maintains herself and her powers. A lesser hero would’ve folded under the emotional pressure of her/his father reappearing. The scene Zatanna has with him as she frees him, once again, is just lovely and perfect.

Zatanna’s take-down of Brother Night is likewise fitting. I love that she turns a powerless Brother Night into Dale, but knows that Brother Night will suffer more for the bargain he made with the devil.

Read all my reviews for Zatanna and buy Zatanna: The Mistress of Magic.

The New Avengers Annual #318. New Avengers Annual #3 by Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Mayhew

Thanks for the awesome birthday present, Bendis. At least, the way I’m looking at all the comics that came out on my birthday week is birthday presents for me. Well, the good ones anyway.

Finally, an all-girl rescue team. Seriously, those are some powerful women. They completely were overdue to shine in the light. Plus, Jessica back in her uniform. Though she needs to loose the earrings when fighting. Mine fall off when I’m changing my shirt, much less pumbling the Dark Avengers. Well at least they’re all wearing flats.

I rather loved the scenes with Clint tied up naked and being tortured. But that’s just me. Not to mention I’m pretty sure he distracted Bullseye from his target by flashing him. Because for some reason they decided to take off all his clothes. Okay, it’s an approved torture method by the CIA/military, but still my birthday present from Bendis.

Bendis’ take on Bobbi and Clint’s relationship is endearing. However, really similar to Jessica and Luke’s. Except perhaps Jessica and Luke are better communicators than Bobbi and Clint, believe it or not.

Read my reviews for New Avengers and buy New Avengers: Siege. Continue reading “Top 20 Issues in 2010”

How DC Loses with Greg Rucka’s Departure

Batwoman in Detective Comics
Yesterday at WonderCon, writer Greg Rucka announced he’s off Batwoman and finished at DC Comics. As a big fan of Rucka’s work and someone who’s particularly in love with his Batwoman run, I’m incredibly sad. Rucka will, of course, keep producing comics under his label Oni Press, as well as continuing to write novels.

While I won’t speculate on what went on behind closed doors between Rucka and DC Comics, I do know this: DC has lost a great talent. When I look at my own DC-reading, Rucka’s really the writer who made me read more DC Comics. With the exception of Batman: The Animated Series, a cartoon not book, I’ve always been more of a Marvel fan. Not due to any brand loyalty or rivalry or something equally ridiculous as pumped by marketers. But in that many ways, I’ve consistently found Marvel Comics more accessible story-and-continuity wise and my buy patterns reflect that. When I look at my DC Comics shelves, 40% of my DC Comics were penned by Greg Rucka. I won’t deny that I’m an author follower when it comes to my reading choices — probably a byproduct of my Creative Writing degree.

The biggest loss to DC Comics is the way Rucka made 70+ years of comic book continuity accessible to everyone. I started off reading Gotham Central by Rucka and Ed Brubaker. In Gotham Central, the themes and tone I’d so enjoyed in the children’s cartoon were actualized into an adult comic. Like the brilliance of the cartoon, I didn’t have to know Batman’s entire history. I didn’t have to know every villain or every character’s origin. Rucka and Brubaker brought individual characters to life and explored their stories, which is how both new and old readers got to know those characters. In this title, Rucka wrote the storyline “Half a Life” the best coming out story I’ve ever read — and I’ve read far too many — which featured Renee Montoya. Interestingly enough, Renee originally appeared in the cartoon, but was brought over, like Harley Quinn, to the main comic continuity. Rucka gave me and other readers a favorite character.

Then years down the road, Rucka created Kate Kane, the new Batwoman and ex-girlfriend of Renee. Kate came onto the scene with a ton of press surrounding her being a lesbian. DC got another diversity notch on its belt, but even better, they got an amazing character created and shaped by Rucka. With artist J.H. Williams III, Rucka took Kate center stage in Detective Comics, the longest continually running America comic book, and they put out what I consider to be one of best comic book runs of all time. And I’m nothing if not a bitchy, snobby reviewer. But then, for whatever reason, DC editorial changed their minds and pulled Kate out of the book early. There was an announcement about a solo Batwoman title with Rucka and Williams, but that’s currently not happening.

What the hell, DC? You really lost.

The second major loss I see for DC is the presence of Rucka as a thoughtful writer on panels and in the press. Last month at Emerald City Comic Con 2010, Rucka was suspiciously missing from the DC panel. I blogged about some of the atrocious shit coming out of Senior Story Editor Ian Sattler’s mouth in relation to the treatment of Lian Harper in Blackest Night and women-in-comics in general and how the panel clearly missed the presence of the-token-woman-in-residence Gail Simone, who’d canceled at the last minute. (Simone, her writing takes up another 20% of my DC Comics.)

Looking again, Rucka’s presence was also missed. Missed in that he’s thoughtful to women and women characters. Missed because in every other DC panel I’ve sat witness to either he or Simone or both of them are the ones to answer questions about women characters. Instead, this panel had Sattler and his boy’s club rhetoric and James Robinson’s unapologetic inability to write women characters, except as motivation for men. Good thing no one asked Geoff Johns why the Star Sapphires still wear less clothing than strippers. I don’t think I’ve witnessed such sloppy, offensive answers since San Diego Comic Con 2007 and to keep things even, that was a Marvel panel.

If I was DC, I’d be pulling out all the stops to retain Rucka as my top talent. And maybe DC did — no one knows how negotiations went — but somehow I don’t think they did.

Everyone keeps talking about how to retain readers and how to grow the comic book audience. How to get more women and minorities reading comic books. How do you do that? You retain talented and thoughtful writers such as Greg Rucka and hire more like him. You support the creation and growth of characters like Kate Kane and Renee Montoya. You support characters who that audience, that market-share you seem to want so badly, identifies with because those character look like them and act like them. You can’t talk the talk if you aren’t willing to walk the walk.

I know Rucka will continue to write wonderful characters, and I’ll keep reading his comics. Hey, and maybe someday, DC will look up and realize what they’ve lost. Because they are the true losers here.

Reviews The Question #37 (Blackest Night tie-in)

Question #37Erica gives this comic five starsThe Question #37 (Blackest Night tie-in) by Dennis O’Neil and Greg Rucka

This issue made me really want to go back and read the 80’s Question series. I want to know more about Charlie and his life. The first few pages with the recaps of his life and deaths work so well to frame the story. A great kick-off to a great story.

This issue also made me so happy to have a full-sized issue dedicated to Renee’s storyline. I miss that. I miss having so much reading material at my fingertips. I love seeing her spunky and no-nonsense attitude.

But at the heart of it, this issue highlights the life of Tot Rodor. Continue reading “Reviews The Question #37 (Blackest Night tie-in)”